Two children dead, one injured at Lake Powell in less than a week

AZGFD launches Child Passenger Safety Week to encourage boater safety

AZGFD encourages all boaters to make sure children have a secure, properly fitted life jacket before recreating on Arizona lakes.

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AZGFD encourages all boaters to make sure children have a secure, properly fitted life jacket before recreating on Arizona lakes.

PAGE, Ariz. — Lake Powell ranks 6th nationally for accidents, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD). Two children have died and a teen was seriously injured in accidents at Lake Powell this month, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.

A 6 month-old boy died in a boating accident Sept. 17. National Park Service (NPS) rangers at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, who were patrolling the area, reported a houseboat was trying to dock on a beach in the area of Navajo Canyon, approximately 12 miles from Antelope Point Marina.

Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release the boat struck the beach, causing an adult to fall on the child, resulting in major head trauma to the infant. The vessel had 13 people on board, including several small children, who were uninjured.

The child was transported to Page Hospital for further evaluation and was later flown to Salt Lake City Children’s Hospital. The infant died from his injuries the following day.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to another boating incident involving a child just three days later on Sept. 21. A 5-year-old child was struck by a boat near Lone Rock Beach, sustaining traumatic injuries. Life-saving efforts were performed by NPS rangers at the scene. The child was airlifted by Classic Aviation to Page Hospital, where he died later that afternoon.

Both deaths are under investigation by the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, NPS and the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner.

A teen who was cliff-jumping with friends in the Halls Creek Bay area sustained extensive injuries after a jump.

According to park rangers who assisted in rescuing the man, the 18-year-old jumped from about 55 feet into the water and failed to resurface. Friends of the man were able to get into the water and pull him back to the surface.

He was transported to Bullfrog Marina, where he was airlifted to St. George Hospital. According to the press release, the man suffered an aortic rupture but is expected to make a full recovery.

Because boating accidents cause about 400 of all Arizona deaths each year, AZGFD has devoted the third week of September to Child Passenger Safety Week, urging visitors and locals alike to remember life jackets, helmets and other safety equipment for children.

“When you’re gearing up to take your kids out to enjoy Arizona’s outdoor recreation, ensure that everyone has the appropriate safety gear,” said Josh Hurst, off-highway vehicle law enforcement coordinator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “A properly fitting helmet or life jacket is the most important piece of equipment that you and your children can wear when hitting OHV trails or going out on a boat.”

State law requires all passengers 12 years old and younger to wear a life jacket while on board a boat or watercraft. And when it comes to OHVs, operators and passengers under 18 must wear a U.S. Department of Transportation-safety rated helmet designed for motorized vehicle use.

AZGFD officials say the best time to check the size and fit of safety gear is before you leave the house. Make sure that everyone in the family, especially children, has the necessary and appropriate safety equipment.

To ensure a child has a properly fitting helmet for riding on or operating an OHV, refer to the helmet manufacturer’s instructions and information. Good fit is essential for ensuring the best protection, and getting advised by a professional is helpful when determining the best option and fit for a child. More information about general helmet information and frequently asked helmet questions can be found on the Snell Memorial Foundation website at www.smf.org.

Before heading out to the lake, law enforcement officers encourage boaters to make sure life jackets fit snugly. To ensure a proper fit, have a child lift his or her arms overhead while lifting up on the life jacket by the shoulder straps; if the jacket rides up above the ear lobes, it’s too big.

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